Golding sued over remarks at press conference

KINGSTON, Jamaica: Attorneys for Harold Brady, the man at the center of the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips saga, have filed a libel suit against Prime Minister Bruce Golding regarding statements made during a press conference on September 14.

In the suit, which was filed in the nation’s Supreme Court last Friday, the attorneys said they were seeking damages for libel, exemplary or aggravated damages, costs, as well as such further and/other relief on behalf of their client.

At the September 14 press conference, journalists were given the opportunity to question Golding on the extradition of Christopher “Dudus” Coke and the controversial hiring of U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips (MPP).

During one of his responses, Golding said that Brady, who was reportedly involved in the hiring of the law firm, was no longer a member of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) and was not in good financial standing with the party secretariat.

Golding also said the attorney had been removed from all government boards.

Immediately after Golding’s revelation, Brady said he was still in good standing with the JLP, as well as being part of the party’s Central Executive.

Following the press conference, Brady’s attorneys wrote Golding demanding a retraction and an apology. However, the Prime Minister did not respond to their demands.

In the lawsuit, Brady claims libel for various statements made by Golding.

In a statement issued last Saturday in response to the libel suit, Golding said Brady’s allegations were false, malicious and “designed to conceal his misconduct in this matter”.

Golding said he would not withdraw from positions he had taken in relation to the engagement of MPP and Brady’s conduct in the matter because they are true and will be corroborated.

“On September 15, 2010, attorneys representing Mr. Harold Brady wrote to me making certain allegations regarding my actions and instructions to him on the engagement of the U.S. law firm Manatt, Phelps & Phillips. Mr. Brady’s lawyers demanded a retraction of certain public statements I made on his involvement in the MPP matter,” said Golding.

Brady’s lawsuit has come months after Golding hinted that the long-standing party member could be penalized for failing to follow the party’s directives in the Manatt affair.

Last year, Brady was used by the JLP as a liaison to the U.S.-based law firm to assist the government with a diplomatic stand-off surrounding the extradition of Coke.

The matter was brought to public attention by opposition People’s National Party (PNP) Member of Parliament Dr. Peter Phillips.

Golding has consistently denied any arrangement between the U.S. law firm and the government, and has challenged Manatt to produce any document showing that it was retained by his administration.

The firm was reportedly paid US$50,000.

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